Those of you who have clicked on my profile may have noticed that among my interests I included the Chicago Bears. I am a big football fan. I played back in junior high and high school, and I have been Bearing Down since I moved here. I am extremely fortunate to have a wife who enjoys the game as much as I do.

A year ago my friend Clayton managed to score two tickets to a preseason game against the 49ers. The Bears won, not that it matters in the preseason. We had fancy seats in the fancy section (the “Cadillac Club”) which basically meant there were more opportunities to spend money than elsewhere in the stadium. To commemorate the momentous occasion, we made our way to the gift shop and threw down a big hairy shitload of money on jerseys. Clayton got himself a Mike Brown, I bought a Brian Urlacher for Mandy (my wife) and I got #8, starting quarterback Rex Grossman, Sexy Rexy, for myself. And all was right with the world.

The season started well. I was in a play at the time, but a number of cast members were also football fans, so a bunch of us got together at a bar near the theater every Sunday before our matinee to watch the first half. We also had a crappy television with awful reception in the theater’s green room, and we would run offstage between scenes to get updates on the games. I seem to recall we lost the first game of the season in spite of a pretty fantastic showing, but then we beat Green Bay, which really was the pinnacle of the season. Then we played Minnesota. We should have won. Could have, in fact, but old Rex, in only the sixth starting game of his career, went down with a leg injury bad enough to sideline him for the rest of the season.

The rest is just depressing history. The Bears had one of the worst seasons in recent memory. We started three more quarterbacks, lost about half the starting lineup to injury, and managed to finish the season with a 5-12 record. The one shining light was the knowledge that next season, all of our starters would be healthy and ready to play.

And now, the punchline:

Last night, in the second preseason game of the 2005 season, Bears starting quarterback Rex Grossman BROKE HIS ANKLE in the second quarter, and will be out of the game for three to four months. Again, I am in a play, but this theater does not have a television in the green room, so I did not find out what had happened until this morning. Mandy is still in bed, and I can’t wait to see her reaction to the news.

And to top it off, the Bears once again failed to pick up a veteran backup quarterback in the off-season, so we’re stuck with one of the backups who sucked last year, and a guy out of college we just picked up in the draft. Granted, the draft guy, Kyle Orton, has looked pretty good so far this preseason, but he’s been playing in the fourth quarter against other teams’ third stringers, so we really don’t know how good he is yet. But that doesn’t matter. The first game of the season is still a month away, and I’ve already got a bad feeling about the whole thing.

And if Grossman doesn’t manage to at least come back in November and finish the season on a high note, I am gonna start to feel like all those poor bastards stuck with Cade McNown jerseys.

You Bears fans know what I’m talking about.